Those of you heading out to the desert for Weekend 2 of Coachella are probably tired of hearing all the hype about Weekend 1. Nobody can seem to agree on Outkast’s big reunion performance, Arcade Fire stole the show, yeah yeah yeah. But Weekend 2 partiers have an advantage edge, as desert-fest dwellers from last weekend learned a few important lessons on the evolution of Coachella’s ins and outs. Here’s the inside scoop on how to perfect the Coachella 2014 experience, straight from those of us still recovering from last weekend:
Play The Guest-Appearance Odds
Chance the Rapper, Pharrell Williams, Outkast, Arcade Fire, Bastille, Big Gigantic and Motorhead all had surprise guest appearances during their performances, including Slash, Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, P Diddy, Justin Bieber and Debbie Harry, among others. Coachella artists don’t usually play Weekend 1 exactly the same as Weekend 2, but you can bet these performers in particular love to treat their crowds to something unexpected. For those of you heading out to Weekend 2, keep in mind everyone’s out to top their Weekend 1 performances, so make sure to prepare accordingly.
Prepare For Wind
A scarf or bandana is all but essential at Coachella 2014, as wind gusts send sand into every unwelcoming place you can imagine. During the heat of the day, the drink vendors will sometimes let you dunk the scarf in their ice water (especially if you have a hot girl with you). You can wring it out and wear it around your neck to cool you down. It also doubles as a mask if there’s a dust storm. For those hardcore dancers who don’t want to worry about their bandanas falling down, bring a surgical or painter’s mask for when the sand storms pick up.
Reserve a Locker
Lockers are available for reservation online, but at the festival, they won’t tell you if they’re sold out until you get to the front of the ridiculously long line. Reserve a locker online now if you can, if not, go to the front of the line first and see if there are still lockers available before you waste an hour getting sweaty and frustrated. Think ahead.
Find The Sweet Spot
Sometimes running around between stages just gets to be too much. If you’re over 21 and comfort matters more than being at the very front of the crowd, head to the beer garden in between the Main Stage & Outdoor stage. After you grab your beer or wine, you can post up and get a perfect view of both stages – which means you can see Lorde, Disclosure, Beck, Arcade Fire any anyone at the Outdoor & Main stage playing back to back, but on opposite stages. Each stage gets super swamped and everyone wants to be up front, but the beer garden has a fence that blocks the craziness AND you get a great view. You can still wander closer to each stage while in the beer garden), then turn around and go to the opposite fence when someone else starts playing on the other stage.
Do The Do Lab
If you have downtime between shows, head to the Do Lab (located by the Terrace this year) for your dose of outdoor EDM, a whole lotta dancing and getting drenched with water. It’s the perfect way to cool down, re-energize and meet up with friends before heading to the next set. Added bonus: Walking through the Terrace on the way out is as good enough excuse as any to grab a S’more Melt. Trust me, they’re addictive.
ID Check: Time the Lines
If you’re 21 – get your ID check done when you walk in by the campsites. There’s rarely a line, which is more than we can say for the endless stream of bodies at the ID checks in the main festival area.
Meeting points inside the festival are hard, even with the gigantic robot and colorful spiral… thing in front of the Main stage area. If you just need to meet up when you’re leaving, skip the idea of picking a human needle out of the haystack herd making their way to the exits. Pick one of the houses in the campsites – lifeguard tower, popsicle house, etc. There’s almost no way to get those spots confused with something else, and you’ll be meeting up outside the chaos of the traffic flow.
When you go to the Porta Potties, go all the way to the back to the white trailers! There’s rarely a line and they’re (almost) always clean! Relatively speaking, anyway. You’re still in the middle of a desert music marathon. Secret gems…
Lock Down Your Campsite
Stake your tent before you leave the campsite and take down anything that can blow away. If you don’t, your site will look like a tornado hit when you get back. The last thing you want to do after a long day at the festival is track down your tent 3 sites away and rebuild it – in the dark, no less.
Showers open at 7am, not at 8 (which the website states). Get there early and rock that morning wash. The line looks long, but there are several showers – walk to the back shower and you’ll probably be one of the first ones in.